Saturday, June 7, 2014

Review: Winterspell

Winterspell by Claire Legrand
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books
Release Date: September 30th, 2014
Date Read: 5/22/14 to 6/5/14
464 Pages
Rating: 1/2

After her mother is brutally murdered, seventeen-year-old Clara Stole is determined to find out what happened to her. Her father, a powerful man with little integrity, is a notorious New York City gang lord in the syndicate-turned-empire called Concordia. And he isn’t much help.

But there is something even darker than Concordia’s corruption brewing under the surface of the city, something full of vengeance and magic, like the stories Clara’s godfather used to tell her when she was a little girl. Then her father is abducted and her little sister’s life is threatened, and Clara accidentally frees Nicholas from a statue that has been his prison for years. Nicholas is the rightful prince of Cane, a wintry kingdom that exists beyond the city Clara has known her whole life.

When Nicholas and Clara journey together to Cane to retrieve her father, Clara encounters Anise, the queen of the faeries, who has ousted the royal family in favor of her own totalitarian, anti-human regime. Clara finds that this new world is not as foreign as she feared, but time is running out for her family, and there is only so much magic can do...

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I received an e-book of Winterspell through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Before I start in my review, I just want to say that this is my first review book from Edelweiss, and I had some trouble with the format on my kindle. Some of the paragraphs weren't together, in that they were cut up with awkward spaces in between them. And then sometimes the author's name randomly appeared out of nowhere. Does this happen with all review books from Edelweiss? Or is it just this specific ARC? Ah well. This did not affect my review, but I would still like some answers.

I requested Winterspell because I love fantasy retellings, even though I knew basically nothing about the Nutcracker. And although it didn't leave a lasting impression on me, plus I'll probably never read it again, it still was a good read. (Especially compared to some titles I have been reading).

Let's start with the beginning. We have Clara Stole, who's trying really hard to keep her family together and also out of harm. To do this, she pretty much lets herself get sexually harassed by Dr. Victor, a creepy doctor that experiments on orphans. But luckily for her, she's being trained by her mother's friend, also known as Godfather, who basically looks after Clara. So that's why when the faeries start attacking, she's prepared, even though she has no idea what's going on.

YEAH, so anyways. Fairies start attacking her and Godfather at a Christmas party. A statue comes to life, because apparently he's a prince from another world, cursed by fairies. Clara's father is kidnapped and sent to the "other" world, so she chases after him, along with Nicholas the statue. And from there, they have to figure out a way to 1) Take back the land from Anise, the "evil" faerie queen. 2) Bring Clara's father back to the real world or else her sister will be in danger.

And, yes surprise, Clara is not what she seems. Noooo she's SPECIAL. Yes.

Yep saw that coming
In my opinion, I thought the beginning dragged pretty slowly until we were actually introduced to the other world. I wasn't a fan of Concordia, the "real" world, which also happens to be in the past. Concordia is located in historical New York, but since there wasn't much world development for that part of the world, I really don't know much about it.

Hmmm, I guess I kind of do like Clara, though I don't connect with her as much as I thought I would. Also, a big part of the story involves Clara's powers. The only problem is, I'm not actually sure what her powers are! She does develop the ability to open doors, or portals, to other locations, but it is not specific to her. She seems to have winter based powers, but it's not really explored. But she definitely evolves over time, becoming more confident in what she's trying to do.

Then there's the love interest, Nicholas, who used to be a statue. And he basically watched Clara grow up in Godfather's shop, from his statue state. So I do kind of understand the insta-love. However, I just hated how he kind of abandoned her until he realizes his mistakes, which isn't for awhile.

We spend a good time listening to Clara's frustration about this

Most of the story focuses on how NOT black and white the world is. I sympathized with Anise, the faerie queen that takes over, just because life was cruel to both her and her race. Unfortunately, there is reason to get rid of her. Legrand does a good job in making the reader realize that there's never a good side or a bad side. Each side want what's best for his or her race, including revenge. This is definitely the main reason why I liked the book more than some others that I've been reading.

And also, I definitely prefer the "other" world compared to Concordia. For example, Legrand shows us metallic, grand constructions and buildings that are constantly being destroyed and rebuilt, and also the lives of the poor humans. It reminded me a Times Square, but just blown up times 100.

So yep. It was a pretty good read (I never know how to end these book reviews aha). But then again I don't have super feels over it.

Winterspell comes out on September 30th of this year! Be sure to check it out :D

Or just request it on Edelweiss haha.


  1. Eeeh, it sounds good, but I'm torn. (I'm not on Edelweiss, so at least I won't be too tempted, haha!) I'm really in the epic fantasy mood, lately, so I'm always up for adding good ones to my TBR, but the "Special Snowflake" syndrome is starting to wear on me. Like, really? Is EVERYONE super uber special? I want to read books from the nobody's who are awesome regardless...

    1. That's exactly what I was thinking! I would love a main character who doesn't have any special powers at all, but still ends up saving the day somehow, though now that I think about it, this might be hard to execute. Ah well I'll find a book someday.

      The only good epic fantasy I've been reading is Way of Kings, but it's also 1000 pages long. I don't know any good short ones----WAIT. GO READ SABRIEL. That one is a really good fantasy YA :D


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